Coca-Cola to invest £500m in North Africa and the Middle East
Despite the economic and political troubles in the Middle East and North African (MENA) Region, its beverage market has continued to grow beyond expectations. According to Gulf Business, a MENA regional business news site, Aujan Coca-Cola Beverages Company (ACCBC), has announced that as part of its expansion into the region it will invest about $500 million over the next three years.
“Major investments in capacity, geographical coverage, and brand development will allow us to capitalise on the growth potential for the beverage industry in the MENA region,” said Nicolaas Nusmeier, CEO, ACCBC. Established in December of 2011, ACCBC, is a $1 billion joint-venture company between Coca-Cola Company and Saudi Arabian-based Aujan Industries. As part of the agreement, ACCBC will handle the manufacturing and distribution of brands such as Rani and Barbican. The Aujan Vimto brand, which wasn’t part of the agreement, is also been distributed by ACCBC.
In July last year, ACCBC completed the acquisition of majority stake in Lebanon’s National Beverage Company (NBC). Lebanon NBC distributes and manufactures brands such as Pampa and Coca-Cola locally. The beverage manufacturer, which currently owns three manufacturing facilities in Beirut, Dammam and Dubai, also achieved a double-digit growth last year. This growth was attributed to the significant acquisitions and ambitious expansion plans.
The bottling company also plans to invest in a factory in Egypt. This factory is expected to help supply the company’s brands to the Egyptian market and across other African markets.
Food sector growth
Due to the fast growing population within the region, Food and Beverage (F&B) retailers have been thriving. Many of which have expanded their regional manufacturing capacity. In December last year, one of the world’s largest food and beverage company, PepsiCo, unveiled a manufacturing facility that will create over 300 jobs in Dammam Saudi Arabia.
In addition to this, PepsiCo plans to invest $345 million in Egypt over the next three to five years in partnership with a Saudi Arabian dairy firm Almarai. According to The National, Abu Dhabi Media’s first English-language publication, an advisory service firm EY said that despite the fall in oil price and weaker growth forecast in the MENA region’s oil exporters, Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in the region will continue to grow at a healthy rate.
“The majority of Mena M&A transactions tend to occur in consumption-led sectors such as food and beverage, retail, health care and education, which have little correlation to economic activity and changes in oil price, so the positive trend is expected to continue,” said Phil Gandier, the Mena head of transaction advisory services at EY. He further stated that in line with last year’s trend, the MENA region deals this year will be led by outbound transactions from Arabian Gulf. This will mostly come from Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Among the deals last year was the acquisition of Egypt’s sweet snack maker, Bisco Misr by Kellogg. In the UAE, Blackstone Group and Dubai-based Fajr Capital bought a stake in the schools operator Gems Group. “The growth of Mena M&A is expected to continue in 2015 at a normalised year on year growth rate of up to 10 percent,” said Phil Gandier, the Mena head of transaction advisory services at EY.
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”